CANADIAN RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
& DISPUTE RESOLUTION
CASE NO. 4321
Heard in Montreal, July 8, 2014
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
UNITED STEELWORKERS – LOCAL 2004
The assessment of 20 demerit points to Mr. Manuel Ferreira’s discipline record for the failure to safely operate a CN vehicle on August 24, 2013 resulting in damage to the vehicle when it struck a post.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
The Union submitted an appeal contending that the discipline assessed was not progressive and consequently was excessive. The Union’s appeal requested that the assessed discipline in the form of 20 demerit points be replaced with 10 demerit points.
The Company disagrees with the Union’s contentions and has declined the Union’s request.
FOR THE UNION: FOR THE COMPANY:
(SGD.) P. Jacques (SGD.) B. Laidlaw
Chief Steward Manager Labour Relations
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
B. Laidlaw – Manager Labour Relations, Winnipeg
R. Hasbrouck – Manager Engineering, Prince George
S. Grou – Senior Manager Labour Relations, Montreal
There appeared on behalf of the Union:
P. Jacques – Regional Chief Steward, Edmonton
M. Ferreira – Grievor, Prince George
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
It is not disputed that the grievor, by a brief moment of inattention, caused the CN truck which he was operated on August 24, 2013 to lightly strike a post as it was proceeding downward off a ramp. It is common ground that the accident was immediately reported by the grievor and that the damage to the truck was relatively minimal and has not required any repair.
In the Arbitrator’s view the assessment of twenty demerits is excessive in the circumstances. While the grievor’s error in judgement plainly left him open to discipline, I am satisfied that the assessment of ten demerits would have been sufficient, in the circumstances, to communicate to the grievor the importance of operating his vehicle with safety and due attention. The grievance is therefore allowed, in part. I direct that the discipline assessed against the grievor in relation to the incident of August 24, 2013 be reduced to ten demerits. Subject to possible correction by the parties, it appears to the Arbitrator that the instant determination, coupled with the Award in CROA&DR 4322 would adjust the grievor’s current disciplinary record to forty-nine active demerits.
July 14, 2014 _______________________________
MICHEL G. PICHER